Shell is currently in the midst of an extensive and revolutionary treasury digitisation project as it looks to harness the latest technology in order to remain one of the world’s leading treasury teams.
Photo of Darsh Johal and Paul Brock, Shell Treasury Centre Ltd and Michael Webb, Standard Chartered.
Royal Dutch Shell plc is an Anglo-Dutch multinational oil and gas company headquartered in the Netherlands and incorporated in the United Kingdom. It is one of the world’s leading oil and gas companies and among the largest companies in any sector globally. It operates in over 70 countries worldwide and has approximately 92,000 employees.
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Shaping the future of treasury
Shell has a long-standing commitment to embracing new technologies to simplify, optimise and reduce cost in its global cash and treasury management activities to support the business as effectively as possible.
It has been proactive in exploring opportunities in ‘real-time treasury’, digital banking, big data and APIs as part of the development and delivery of an ambitious digital treasury roadmap. Working closely with banking and technology partners is a crucial element, both in defining this roadmap and shaping the tools that will comprise the digital treasury of the future.
A flagship example of this has been the collaboration with long-standing banking partner Standard Chartered. In February 2017, treasury embarked on a co-creation project with the bank to shape and deliver highly innovative client onboarding and next-generation electronic banking portals (Straight2Bank NextGen) that utilise APIs.
To achieve this, Shell and Standard Chartered ensured that regular and proactive engagement took place at every stage, with tangible project delivery milestones set. This included several meetings in Standard Chartered’s development hub in Bangalore, workshops in London and Shell’s finance operations centre in Chennai.
The solution went live in April this year and already Shell is benefiting in several areas. This includes the rationalisation of the multiple different client profiles on the bank’s portal, to improve controls and simplify user access management. With the NextGen portal, the company now has two to three profiles, representing a major step towards achieving treasury’s simplification and standardisation objectives. The move from physical tokens to digital tokens enhances the user experience considerably with greater convenience and control.
In 2018 it is expected that further capabilities will be enabled which will provide additional benefits. It is anticipated that 85% of queries, which are currently raised manually by the treasury team, will be managed through an online service model. Shell will also benefit from increased visibility and control over cross-border transactions, thanks to SWIFT gpi. A major improvement will see self-service open, maintain and close bank accounts, including automation of KYC processes.
Best practice and innovation
Treasury digitalisation is an objective for many corporations, but few have been as rigorous and committed to both developing and delivering a digital treasury roadmap as Shell. Working closely with Standard Chartered, Shell has been instrumental in the creation and rollout of digital platforms that mark the future direction of corporate banking, addressing points of friction, embracing digital interaction and facilitating emerging business models and working practices.
The proven success of the parties’ co-creative relationship to leverage digital platforms such as client onboarding and the next generation electronic banking portal is just one element of a wider digital treasury strategy. It also includes virtual accounts to automate reconciliation, APIs, Big Data and AI and new payment channels such as faster/ instant, payments.
The quality of the user experience is critical across the full range of these initiatives, delivering greater convenience, control and efficiency, and embracing new technologies to align users’ digital experience more closely across their personal and working lives.
Improved user experience.
Use of digital platforms using new technologies.
Standardised and simplified processes.
Enables treasury to better support the wider business.
Increased automation and straight through processing.
Head of Global Cash Management
Darsh Johal is Head of Global Cash Management at Royal Dutch Shell and is based in London. Darsh is responsible for managing the cash management infrastructure for the group including bank relationships, contracts, pricing, managing major banking projects and strategy. Darsh is currently leading a number of major cash management projects at RDS including development of a digital roadmap and deployment of associated initiatives.